This month marks a momentous occasion in Stony Brook University Hospital’s (SBUH) proud history as Long Island’s premier academic medical center and teaching hospital. On February 18, 1980, the first two patients were admitted to the hospital, and on May 24, Stony Brook University Hospital was formally dedicated. After the hospital officially opened, many milestones were reached, and distinctions came quickly.
Throughout its 40 years, Stony Brook Medicine has grown. Today, the 818- bed multi-hospital system, provides advanced compassionate care to Long Islanders, with more than one million patient encounters each year. The healthcare system also includes a strong physician network and more than 230 outpatient care sites throughout Suffolk County.
Stony Brook University Hospital recently highlighted select moments from its history to put on display in an exhibit and recognized staff who have dedicated 40 years at a ceremony.
A Few Landmarks and Achievements
- Stony Brook University Hospital was one of the few hospitals in New York State to be staffed entirely by registered nurses.
- Late in February 1981, the first kidney transplant was performed — a first for Long Island — and soon after the hospital was designated as the Long Island Regional Transplantation Center.
- The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit opened, the first in Suffolk County, now part of the state-designated Regional Perinatal Center.
- In 1984, the Burn Unit opened, and was subsequently designated as the regional center for burn care, now known as the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center.
- In 1988, the hospital was named the regional AIDS treatment center – one of only two in the state at that time.
- The first Suffolk County Police helicopter touched down on the hospital’s helipad in 1989, the result of an agreement between the hospital and the police to provide helicopter transport of the critically ill or injured to the hospital from throughout Suffolk County.
- In 1990, the hospital was designated by New York State as a Level I Trauma Center. The hospital also opened its Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) and became another NYS-designated service. All of the hospital’s state designations are still in place today.
- The hospital’s role as a research center was strengthened with the announcement in 1982 of the discovery of the spirochete responsible for Lyme disease by a team led by Jorge Benach, PhD. A decade before when Stony Brook University researcher Paul Lauterbur, PhD, created the first multi-dimensional image using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), he sparked a new age of medical technology and clinical care. His 1971 discovery made it possible to get a clear look inside the human body without surgery or x-rays. Dr. Lauterbur would go on to receive the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
- Other discoveries by Stony Brook researchers include Periostat®, which is widely used for periodontal disease; ReoPro®, a medication recommended for cardiac angioplasty; Xiaflex® to treat Dupuytren’s disease, a debilitating hand disorder; and the 3D virtual colonoscopy.
To take a journey throughout the years to learn more about Stony Brook Medicine’s history, visit: stonybrookmedicine.edu/sbuh.
Credit: Stony Brook Medicine